News for October, 2011
Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Dynamic pricing, made possible by the smart grid, allows consumers to buy cheaper power.
If the results of an Ameren Illinois program is any indication, the electric grid modernization components of the bill approved yesterday by the Illinois General Assembly could enable consumers to reap savings on their electricity that will more than offset the bill’s estimated $36 per year price tag for households.
The downstate Ameren program, made possible by the smart grid technology that will become widespread as a result of the new law, has saved more than 11,000 customers an average of 25 percent on the cost of their energy supply compared to what they would pay on a standard rate plan. The savings translates to nearly $200 on average savings per year, with typical households paying around $100 per month before switching to the program. Program participants have saved more than $4 million since it began in 2007.
“The smart grid can facilitate the use of smart rates that save people real money,” said Anne Evens, director of CNT Energy, which administers the Ameren program. “Based on our experience, when grid modernization technology is combined with clear, ongoing customer education, it can help customers make good choices about their energy use and take control of their utility bills.”
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Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
A new CNT study shows that Portland is well-positioned to pilot a tree asset management program that would lay the groundwork for turning its tree canopy into a bondable asset, similar to bridges and roads. The study identified six steps through which Portland—and other cities—can create an effective tree asset management program. The study also provides several case studies of other cities that are attempting to turn their trees into assets.
Tree Asset Management in Portland, Oregon is available here.
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Monday, October 24th, 2011
This joint CTA/I-GO smart card is the only one in North America that provides access to public transit and car sharing vehicles.
“I-GO sees itself as a form of public transportation that provides the last mile solution for the CTA.” That’s the good word from reporter John Skelly, Jr., writing about I-GO’s partnership with the CTA for Northwestern University’s Medill Reports.
The article describes the motivating factors behind the 2008 development of the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card, a joint smartcard offered by I-GO Car Sharing that lets its members access both I-GO vehicles and CTA trains and buses. There are about 1,800 cards in circulation. The result: cost savings across transportation modes and a progressive re-thinking of how public transit can fit within a mixture of services to better meet the needs of a metropolitan population.
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Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
American home buyers and builders are often discouraged from purchasing and constructing energy efficient homes because current mortgage underwriting and appraisal standards fail to account for energy costs and savings that come from energy efficiency improvements. Today’s introduction of the SAVE Act by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Isakson (R-GA) will remove these roadblocks to more energy efficient homes and take a first step toward giving consumers an energy rating on homes, similar to “miles per gallon” ratings on cars or Energy Star labels on appliances.
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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
CNT welcomes Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s move to modernize Chicago’s water infrastructure through increased, and arguably fairer, rate prices. The decision will reduce the amount of water lost through leaks in crumbling pipes, and improve the system’s ability to deal with intense storms that cause flooding and wreak costly havoc on property owners.
The decision was unveiled in the city budget proposal for 2012 to the Chicago City Council today. Among the new initiatives it puts forward is an increase in the annual fee for water and sewer services. The water fee for property owners would increase by 25 percent next year and would begin to charge institutions, such as CNT, for water services that have historically received those services for free. Read more »